If you are having difficulty accessing physiotherapy during the COVID-19 pandemic, then our hybrid model of care could be just the thing to help you keep doing what you love……..
How we leapt into virtual consultations
In March 2020, we leapt into virtual telehealth online consultations. During lockdown, we saw many patients virtually; new for them and new for us. Our clinic at David Lloyd Club in Peterborough had to close due to governmental restrictions due to the pandemic and it was a question not only of survival instinct for us as a business but also as a calling to help our patients in pain at a time that they were not allowed to leave their home.
First step, was to tech up the business. We leapt into new software to help us deliver a patient centric experience to see patients virtually. This involved enabling patients to make appointments fully online and to send a patient a video consultation link that they can simply press and wait in a “virtual” waiting room for us for their appointment. It also enabled us to send patients their physiotherapy programme using exercise rehabilitation software to help motivate and guide their them from home.
Empowering our patients to have confidence in taking care of their own recovery
Our training as Physiotherapists has progressed over recent years to empower our patients to take ownership of their own recovery so virtual online physiotherapy fits in well with our ethos. The feedback from our google survey we undertook during lockdown was really positive. Comments included, “the next best thing to face to face” and “really convenient from the comfort and safety of my own home”. It even surprised us how well we could help people recover by careful assessment and treatment planning through online telehealth appointments.
We are now offering a hybrid service that patients can choose which way they access us: face to face or virtually or a mix and match of the two.
Now we are back to face to face physiotherapy consultations at our clinic within David Lloyd Club in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, our virtual consultations still continue alongside our face to face service. You choose. The COVID-19 infection rates in the UK and locally are of concern to us all. We have a full COVID-19 safety policy in place to help minimise the risk of transmission through pre-appointment screening, mask use by all, socially distanced waiting room, updated cleaning protocols and our practitioners in full PPE (personal protective equipment) as per Public health England guidelines. However, PPE is not 100% risk free and many patients are still understandably nervous in attending healthcare appointments in person. That is where our hybrid model comes in.
We can offer initial history taking and examination virtually first. In many cases, this is a highly effective way of assessing and treating pain. If hands on, face to face (or should we say mask to mask), is clinically indicated and agreed, then we can always organise a face to face appointment as a one off or as a mix and match with virtual appointments. We are now seeing the majority of patients face to face in clinic. However, with infection rates rising, we are seeing a reluctance within at risk groups to come out to see us. Patients could be self isolating with no means of seeing healthcare practitioners. We are really concerned that this will mean a significant downturn in the health of our local population as they stop doing the things they love due to pain…………this is turn can lead to further social isolation, loneliness, low mood and decreasing physical activity levels.
We have joined a collective of UK physios called Physios Online to help patients access the physiotherapy care specific to their condition
Physios online is a project led by our colleague, Evie Martin, who has put together a website full of specialised physiotherapists able to offer their services online. We offer musculoskeletal consultations through online appointments, and there are also physiotherapists offering neurological, paediatric, oncology and respiratory consultations. Highly recommend!
Here is a link to the website and a video link where our Clinical Director, Helen Preston, was interviewed about our hybrid model of care.
How do I access an online or face to face appointment with Prestons Health?
Its really simple. Book online via our booking page here: https://prestonshealth.co.uk/appointments/
Any queries, call us on 01733-565911 to discuss.